Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, aMT) is a highly conserved molecule present in unicellular to vertebrate organisms. Melatonin is synthesized from tryptophan in the pinealocytes by the pineal gland and also is produced in other organs, tissues and fluids (extrapineal melatonin). Melatonin has lipophilic and hydrophilic nature which allows it to cross biological membranes. Therefore, melatonin is present in all subcellular compartments predominantly in the nucleus and mitochondria. Melatonin has pleiotropic functions with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and oncostatic effects with a wide spectrum of action particularly at the level of mitochondria. » MiPNet article
Reference: Acuña-Castroviejo 2014 Cell Mol Life Sci
Melatonin and protection from mitochondrial damage
|Doerrier C (2015) Melatonin and attenuation of mitochondrial oxidative damage. Mitochondr Physiol Network 2015-03-03.|
Doerrier C (2015) MiPNet
Abstract: Melatonin (aMT) is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule able to attenuate mitochondrial oxidative damage, preserving mitochondrial function and organization.
• O2k-Network Lab: ES Granada Acuna-Castroviejo D, AT Innsbruck Gnaiger E
Pineal and extrapineal melatonin
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, aMT) is a highly conserved molecule which is present in a broadrange of phylogenetic taxa, including bacteria, fungi, plants, algae, invertebrate and vertebrate organisms. Whereas pineal melatonin has been related with chronobiotic functions, extrapineal melatonin shows mainly antioxidant and antiinflammatory actions.
- Pineal melatonin: Pineal melatonin is synthesized from tryptophan in the pinealocytes by the pineal gland. Its production is controlled by a circadian signal from suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). At night photoreceptors of the retina generate a potential action which finally triggers an increment in the levels and activity of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) protein. AANAT is the penultimate enzyme in melatonin synthesis. However, during the day the light maintains these photoreceptors hyperpolarized, blocking melatonin synthesis. Therefore, melatonin presents maximum levels in plasma between 2-3 am, which are 10 times higher than diurnal levels. Once synthesized, melatonin is released into the bloodstream, accessing to cellular tissues and corporal fluids. Pineal melatonin is related to circadian functions.
- Extrapineal melatonin: Melatonin is produced in various tissues, fluids and organs other than the pineal gland. Extrapineal melatonin levels are in micromolar range and are thus much higher than the nanomolar pineal melatonin concentrations. The production of extrapineal melatonin is independent of the pineal synthesis and occurs in the tissues in a different functional context. Moreover, extrapineal melatonin differs from pineal melatonin in terms of its intracellular location and protection of the tissue.
Mechanisms of action
Two different mechanisms of action of melatonin have been described:
- Receptor-mediated mechanism: Melatonin binds to membrane receptors (such as MT1 and MT2), nuclear receptors (RZR/ROR) and cytosolic proteins (such calmodulin and calreticulin).
- Non receptor-mediated mechanism.
Due to its lipophilic and hydrophilic nature, melatonin can cross biological membranes. Therefore, melatonin is present in all subcellular compartments, predominantly in the nucleus and mitochondria. Melatonin exerts highly relevant functions at the level of mitochondria, which are the main target of melatonin. Mitochondria are an important source of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) in the cell, and melatonin exerts important actions protecting against mitochondrial damage.
Main functions of extrapineal melatonin
Melatonin shows pleiotropic functions with a wide spectrum of properties.
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant
- Melatonin presents direct free radical scavenging activity: Due to its structure and its high redox potential melatonin and its metabolites act as electron donors, scavenging ROS.
- Indirect antioxidant activity: Melatonin decreases ROS/RNS production, increases the expression and the activity of antioxidant systems (such as glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase and catalase).
Melatonin has anti-inflammatory properties
During inflammatory diseases (such as sepsis or fibromyalgia), an induction occurs in mitochondria of i-mtNOS (inducible mitochondrial isoform of nitric oxide synthase) which causes a significant rise in nitric oxide (NO●) production and consequently an increment in peroxinitrite anion (ONOO–) levels. Both NO● and ONOO– inhibit respiratory complexes, favoring electron leak and producing finally an oxidative-nitrosative stress able to damage cellular structures, resulting in mitochondrial failure and cell death. Melatonin inhibits iNOS (cytosolic isoform of nitric oxide synthase) and i-mtNOS expression, restoring NO● levels. Accordingly, melatonin decrease RNS and ROS production, maintaining an optimal mitochondrial function.
On the other hand, inflammatory processes result in the activation of the nuclear factor NF-kB which acts in the nucleus triggering the expression of several proinflammatory genes. Melatonin inhibits the activation of the NF-kB pathway.
Melatonin exhibits oncostatic effects
Melatonin inhibits cell proliferation or induces apoptosis activation of tumoral cells by different mechanisms of action.
The lipid composition of mitochondrial membranes is relevant to maintain an adequate fluidity and consequently the organization and function of mitochondria. Important phospholipids present in mitochondrial membranes are very susceptible to the ROS attack and to the damage by lipid peroxidation (LPO). Moreover, phospholipids such as cardiolipin (CL) are involved in CI and CIV activities, mitochondrial supramolecular organization in supercomplexes (SC), the integrity of mitochondrial network and apoptotic processes. Therefore, alterations in cardiolipin structure, content and/or acyl chains compositions have significant implications on mitochondrial function. Melatonin is able to protect these mitochondrial components against oxidative and nitrosative-related damage, providing and optimal membrane fluidity which is necessary for a proper mitochondrial function.
Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a key role in several pathologies such as neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders, ischemia-reperfusion, hypoxia, mucositis as well as in aging. Usually, mitochondrial dysfunction in these pathophysiological conditions is caused, at least in part, by an increment in oxidative and nitrosative stress. A large body of studies support that melatonin treatment protects against hyperoxidative damage mediated via various mechanisms. Melatonin allows an optimal mitochondrial function by their direct and indirect actions.
In summary, melatonin administration can counteract mitochondrial impairment mainly by decreasing ROS/RNS production, preventing LPO and hence reducing oxidative damage of relevant components of mitochondrial membranes such as cardiolipin and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs), allowing to maintain an adequate structure and function and consequently preserving bioenergetic processes.
- Ortiz F, Acuña-Castroviejo D, Doerrier C, Dayoub JC, López LC, Venegas C, García JA, López A, Volt H, Luna-Sánchez M, Escames G (2014) Melatonin blunts the mitochondrial/NLRP3 connection and protects against radiation-induced oral mucositis. J Pineal Res 58:34-49. »PMID: 25388914
- Doerrier C, García JA, Volt H, Díaz-Casado ME, Lima-Cabello E, Ortiz F, Luna-Sánchez M, Escames G, López LC, Acuña-Castroviejo D (2014) Identification of mitochondrial deficits and melatonin targets in liver of septic mice by high-resolution respirometry. Life Sci 121:158-65. »PMID: 25498899
- López A, García JA, Escames G, Venegas C, Ortiz F, López LC, Acuña-Castroviejo D (2009) Melatonin protects the mitochondria from oxidative damage reducing oxygen consumption, membrane potential, and superoxide anion production. J Pineal Res 46:188-98. »PMID: 19054298
- Acuña-Castroviejo D, Carretero C, Doerrier C, López LC, García-Corzo L, Tresguerres JA, Escames G (2012) Melatonin protects lung mitochondria from aging. Age (Dordr)34:681-692. »PMID: 21614449
- Acuña-Castroviejo D, Escames G, Venegas C, Díaz-Casado ME, Lima-Cabello E, López LC, Rosales-Corral S, Tan DX, Reiter RJ (2014) Extrapineal melatonin: sources, regulation, and potential functions. Cell Mol Life Sci 71:2997-25. »PMID: 24554058
- Acuña-Castroviejo D, López LC, Escames G, López A, García JA, Reiter RJ (2011) Melatonin-mitochondria interplay in health and disease. Curr Top Med Chem 11:221-240. »PMID: 21244359
- Tan DX, Manchester LC, Reiter RJ, Qi WB, Karbownik M, Calvo JR (2000) Significance of melatonin in antioxidative defense system: reactions and products. Biol Signals Recept 9:137-159. »PMID: 10899700
Melatonin and mitObesity
Work in progress by Gnaiger E 2020-02-10 linked to a preprint in preparation on BME and mitObesity.
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MitoPedia: mitObesity drugs
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|Curcumin||Curcumin has been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-coagulant and anti-infective effects. The protective effects of curcumin on rat heart mitochondrial injuries induced by in vitro anoxia–reoxygenation were evaluated by Xu et al 2013. It was found that curcumin added before anoxia or immediately prior to reoxygenation exhibited remarkable protective effects against anoxia–reoxygenation induced oxidative damage to mitochondria.|
|Elamipretide||Bendavia||Bendavia (Elamipretide) was developed as a mitochondria-targeted drug against degenerative diseases, including cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury. Clinical trials showed variable results. It is a cationic tetrapeptide which readily passes cell membranes, associates with cardiolipin in the mitochondrial inner membrane. Supercomplex-associated CIV activity significantly improved in response to elamipretide treatment in the failing human heart.|
|Flavonoids||Flavonoids are a group of bioactive polyphenols with potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, abundant in fruits and vegetables, and in some medicinal herbs. Flavonoids are synthesized in plants from phenylalanine. Dietary intake of flavonoids as nutraceuticals is discussed for targeting T2D and other degenerative diseases.|
|Melatonin||aMT||Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, aMT) is a highly conserved molecule present in unicellular to vertebrate organisms. Melatonin is synthesized from tryptophan in the pinealocytes by the pineal gland and also is produced in other organs, tissues and fluids (extrapineal melatonin). Melatonin has lipophilic and hydrophilic nature which allows it to cross biological membranes. Therefore, melatonin is present in all subcellular compartments predominantly in the nucleus and mitochondria. Melatonin has pleiotropic functions with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and oncostatic effects with a wide spectrum of action particularly at the level of mitochondria. » MiPNet article|
|Metformin||Metformin is mainly known as an important antidiabetic drug which is effective, however, in a wide spectrum of degenerative diseases. It is an inhibitor of Complex I.|
|Rapamycin||Rapamycin is an inhibitor of the mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin, complex 1 (mTORC1). Rapamycin induces autophagy and dyscouples mitochondrial respiration. Rapamycin delays senescence in human cells, and extends lifespan in mice without detrimental effects on mitochondrial fitness in skeletal muscle.|
|Resveratrol||Resveratrol is a natural bioactive phenol prouced by several plants with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Dietary intake as nutraceutical is discussed for targeting mitochondria with a wide spectrum of action in degenerative diseases.|
|Spermidine||Spermidine is a polycationic bioactive polyamine mainly found in wheat germ, soybean and various vegetables, involved in the regulation of mitophagy, cell growth and cell death. Like other caloric restriction mimetics, spermidine is effective in cardioprotection, neuroprotection and anticancer immunosuppression by preserving mitochondrial function and control of autophagy.|
|Healthy reference population||Body mass excess||BFE||BME cutoffs||BMI||H||M||VO2max||mitObesity drugs|
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